Visiting the Familypark in St. Margarethen (outside Vienna)

Thomas read an article about a park named Familypark as he relaxed on his sofa. He looked at the pictures and thought “I’ve got to visit that place”.

Thomas borrowed a car and headed in the direction of the Familypark, located outside the city of St. Margarethen. This is very close to Hungary, so Thomas considered paying Sopron, and the beautiful quarry located in Fertorakos. He eventually visited both places, but more about those in another article.

The car-ride from Vienna to the Familypark took about 1 hour, without much traffic to see. But, Thomas was greatly surprised upon arrival at the park. He had read that it opened at 9.00 every day and that the rides only started from 10.00. So, he expected the park to be quite empty upon arrival at 9.30. But, he was completely wrong. Before he found a place to park the car, he had to pass by hundreds of cars that had arrived even earlier than him.

One of the attractions in the Family Park - Source.
One of the attractions in the Family Park – Source.

Entering the park – entrance fees

To enter the park, Thomas had to pay 24 Euro. This fee is for all the attractions inside, meaning that he could enjoy everything on the inside after that without paying any extras. But, he had to stand in line for 10 minutes to get his ticket (even though there were 6 cashiers open). This place was much more popular than he would have imagined beforehand.

As he looked through the price-list, Thomas said to himself, that if he lived close to this park, he would have bought the annual ticket (costing only 69 euro). In other words, if you visit the park more than twice a year, the annual ticket gives you the best value.

Once inside, Thomas empties his tank (in one of the many toilets in the park) and looks for something cool to do.

Thomas spots a carousel in the park
Thomas spots a carousel in the park

At first, Thomas spots a carousel in the Familypark. It looks nice, but for people in their 30’s, this isn’t exactly the kind of program you are looking for in an amusement park.

Walking a bit further, he can see one of those rides he fears a lot. You have to sit in a chair together with others, they take you to the top, and then suddenly let you fall downwards. Luckily, this is a small one, so Thomas decides to take a seat and enjoy it.

Luckily, this ride wasn't to scary for Thomas
Luckily, this ride wasn’t too scary for Thomas

This was a nice start on the stay in the park for Thomas. Now he walks on to see what else to do. In the background, he spots a roller-coaster and hurries up to give it a try. He isn’t really so tough, but he likes to think of himself as a guy not fearing anything. As Thomas gets into the line, he is happy that it is only 25 Celsius outside, because this line would be a disaster if it would have been warmer. After 20 minutes in line, Thomas is ready to take a seat and try the rollercoaster.

Thomas enjoys the rollercoaster in the Familypark
Thomas enjoys the rollercoaster in the Familypark

It isn’t often that 60 seconds passes by this fast. There were no loops in the rollercoaster, but it still felt scary, and Thomas’ legs are shaking a bit as he leaves the car. He would like to try it once more, but he doesn’t want to spend 20 more minutes in line in order to do so. He walks on to find more cool stuff worth trying.

As he walks around in the park, he spots a very delightful little train driving people around inside parts of the park. It looks nice, and Thomas can easily imagine visiting this place with kids sometime in the future. There are loads of rides suitable for kids, and there are even fairy tale houses where you can listen to fairy tales and see famous fairy tale figures.

Lots of delightful rides for kids in the Familypark
Lots of delightful rides for kids in the Familypark
One of the fairy-tale houses in the park.
One of the fairy-tale houses in the park.

Thomas is getting hungry, and around lunch-time, he can see that there are more and more people coming into the park. He eats something quickly and is surprised that the prices aren’t higher. Since everyone visiting the park stays for the entire day, they will all have to eat something, and thus they could “push” the prices higher in the park. Luckily, they haven’t done so, and Thomas could enjoy a wiener schnitzel with fries costing him around 6 Euro.

Ready for some more action in the Familypark

As Thomas walks to the other part of the park, he can see some attractions looking more like something for adults. The first attraction catching the attention of his eye was another rollercoaster. This one is called the Götterblitz, and it looks to be a bit scarier than the first.

Rollercoaster in the Familypark
Another rollercoaster in the Familypark – Source

There is only a slight problem. By now, on a late August day, the park is so packed that you have to wait around 30 minutes (at least) to enjoy the popular rides. Thomas keeps wondering if he should have visited the park in September instead (when the local kids are attending school instead of the park), but he cannot change that at the moment.

One of the popular rides in the Familypark, ideal for kids, not so fun for adults!
One of the popular rides in the Familypark, ideal for kids, not so fun for adults!

The coolest attraction in the entire park is, without a doubt, the new flying machines, ala Leonardo da Vinci. Unfortunately, it was a terribly long line for this attraction as well, but Thomas felt as if he had to give it a try at least.

Leonardo da Vinci in Familypark
Flying with Leonardo da Vinci – Source

The picture above doesn’t show Thomas during the ride, but it for sure felt scarier than what the picture shows. If you manage, you can even make your “flight” turn upside down as it goes round and round and up and down, making it an even greater adrenaline kick than if you just take it for a normal flight.

After a long day in the park where Thomas has tried quite some rides, he feels satisfied and is ready to leave the park.

He has some trouble finding the way out of the park (he misses some signs showing where the exit can be found), but he doesn’t really mind that. As he gets back into his car it is extremely hot inside. The car has been in the sun for the entire day, so he rolls down his windows and gets ready for more action somewhere else.

Thomas got soaking wet as he tried this ride...
Thomas got soaking wet as he tried this ride…

Thomas’ short Familypark summary

It was a magnificent park, and he now understands very well why it is called a Familypark. It is not the ideal park for adults wanting to enjoy some action rides (those should rather visit Prater in Vienna), but for those with kids aged between 2 and 20, this park is perfect. And again, if Thomas had to return to Familypark another time, he would for sure try to visit the park on a day when most people are in school and kindergarten, instead of during the summer holidays when all kids are bored and their parents bring them to the Familypark.

For more information about the Familypark, visit their website.

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A day-trip to Bratislava

Thomas has heard about the city of Bratislava and has wanted to visit it for a long time. Recently he got the chance to do a day trip to Bratislava, and this is his report!

Thomas in Bratislava
Thomas visits Bratislava – Source: Pixabay

Thomas woke up early in his Vienna hotel and quickly packed his stuff together. On the wait to the boat he bought some breakfast, and at 8.30 the Twin City Liner was ready to leave Vienna in order to reach Bratislava. The ticket price was 30 Euro (something Thomas found to be quite expensive), but it was still worth it as it would take him to Bratislava on the River Danube.

The boat trip took 75 minutes, and at 9:45 he arrived in Bratislava. The boat stopped in the heart of the city (Old Town), so now he was ready to discover whatever the city had to offer. His return with the boat would leave Bratislava at 16.00 (price was 20 Euro), so this is the story of what Thomas did during his six-hour stay in Bratislava.

The story of Thomas’ stay in Bratislava

He decided to start his day by getting some food. He noticed an interesting shaped “building” in the middle of the bridge had crossed under and decided to pay the UFO a visit. This is one of the most important landmarks in Bratislava, and it is a popular place to dine, so why not start the day in Bratislava with a UFO-visit?

ufo in bratislava
Thomas wants to visit the UFO in Bratislava

Thomas walks toward the bridge and follows the walking road “under” the bridge all the way to the UFO. He pays the entrance fee and takes an elevator to the top of the UFO. Here he can enjoy a spectacular view in all directions, and he uses the opportunity to grab a piece of food.

While waiting for the food to be served, Thomas takes a panorama photo with his mobile in the direction of the castle and the old town. He is very satisfied with the result.

A beautiful view towards the castle and the old town from the UFO in Bratislava
A beautiful view towards the castle and the old town from the UFO in Bratislava

Thomas wasn’t entirely satisfied with his food, but at least he got some new energy. Now he is ready to leave the UFO and get back to the old town. But, before walking around in the old town, he decides to visit the castle to see what the view is like from there and to learn more about the castle building itself.

It is a nice walk, but he uses more than 30 minutes to get from the UFO to the castle. During the walk, he takes some more pictures and notices the Martin Cathedral which seems to be a nice cathedral in the old town of Bratislava.

The Castle of Bratislava

The castle looked very impressive from the UFO, but as he gets close to the castle, he isn’t that impressed anymore. If the building would have been located in Paris, and not on a hill next to the Danube, nobody would even notice the building (at least so he thinks). But, as Thomas reads in his guidebook about the building, he understands that the castle has had a special history. A castle was first raised on the hill in the 10th century. It was later made into a gothic castle, a renaissance castle, and a baroque castle before it burned down in the start of the 19th century. It was left a ruin for more than hundred years before it was rebuilt around 1957. That kind of explains the look of the building to Thomas.

The Castle of Bratislava
The Castle of Bratislava didn’t really impress Thomas.

Thomas isn’t that much into museums, so he decides not to visit the department of the Slovak National Museum located inside the castle building. Instead, he drinks some water, makes some photos, and starts his walk towards the old town and the Martin Cathedral.

The Martin Cathedral is a nice church, but it cannot be compared to other churches Thomas has earlier. But, what should one expect from a small city like Bratislava (the city only has a population of 500,000 people). This is the most important church in Bratislava, and it has been the coronation church for kings throughout the centuries.

Martin Cathedral in Bratislava
Martin Cathedral in Bratislava

As he walks on towards the old-town he sees a beautiful tower at the end of a street (to the left). The tower is the Michaels Tower, and it is a very nice place to visit. He decides to visit the tower and pays the cheap entrance fee. As he walks towards the top he enjoys an exhibition portraying some historical objects, and from the top, he enjoys a fairly nice view towards the old town and towards the castle.

St Michals Tower
St Michals Tower, the only watchtower left in Bratislava

The building was originally built in the 14th century, but what we see today is mostly the result of the renovation work in the 18th century. It is one of the oldest buildings left in Bratislava today.

He leaves the tower and walks towards the main square of Bratislava. He can spot a little market and some restaurants along the way, but nothing that catches his interest. At the main square, Thomas can see a big fountain in the middle. This is the famous Maximillian Fountain. This monument is more than 10 meter high, and it looks very nice in the middle of the square.

main square bratislava
The main square in Bratislava with the Maximillian fountain and the old town hall

On the picture above you can see the fountain itself and in the background the old town hall with its famous clock tower. As Thomas went closer to the clock tower he noticed a little tunnel. As he walked into the tunnel he discovered a beautiful backyard, and as he went on he discovered another famous attraction in Bratislava, the Primates Palace.

The Primates Palace in Bratislava
The Primates Palace in Bratislava

As Thomas discovers the Primates Palace he starts to wonder. Is this the building he has read about? Is this what many call the most beautiful of all buildings in Bratislava? He cannot understand it. His guidebook says that it has had an important role in history and that it was here the Peace of Pressburg treaty was signed in 1805. But, who cares about that today? Thomas can say that he has seen the building, but he wasn’t very impressed!

Disappointed Thomas returns to the main square of Bratislava. Soon he gets in a better mood as a silver guy takes off his hat and greets him!

Schone Naci in Bratislava
Beautiful Ignac (Schone Naci) welcomes you to Bratislava, a popular statue in Bratislava – Source: Pixabay

Thomas immediately gets in a better mood, and as he turns his eyes back to the main square he discovers another statue. This time it is a soldier leaning onto a bench on the main square. This is one of the soldiers in the army of Napoleon, and Napoleon supposedly wore a similar hat back in the days.

French soldier in Bratislava
French soldier at the main square – Source

The boat is about to leave Bratislava

Thomas looks at his watch, and he can see that it is 15.00. He has spent quite a lot of time walking around, so he walks in the direction of the boat. He looks forward to taking a closer look at the Hviezdoslav Square, but before he gets there a crowd has gathered in front of him. Thomas wonders what’s going on, and then he sees a guy looking out from a manhole in the street. Luckily it isn’t a real person, but it is one more of these cool statues around in Bratislava. The guy he looks at is called Cumil, and he is one of the most popular attractions in all of Bratislava.

man at work in Bratislava
Cumil, a very popular statue in Bratislava.

Thomas takes a picture and walks on towards the Hviezdoslav Square. As he reaches the giant square he observes the National Theater to the left.

The National Theater in Bratislava
The National Theater in Bratislava

He quickly looks at the building, but as he loses his interest quickly, he takes a look to the right instead. There he can see lots of stands and it is some kind of market taking place at the square. There are lots of nice restaurants lined up, so the next time Thomas comes to town, he wants to grab something to eat here.

On the other side of the square, he can see a giant hotel, the Radisson Blu Carlton hotel. It might not be the nicest in Bratislava, but it has a fantastic location. Maybe this is were Thomas should stay if he ever returns to Bratislava?

The beautiful Carlton hotel at the Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava
The beautiful Carlton hotel at the Hviezdoslav Square in Bratislava

Thomas walks on towards the river, and before he finishes his trip at the boat, he buys some chocolate and something to drink in the Billa store located on the side of the Carlton hotel building.

Refreshed he walks down to the boat and is ready to ride back to Vienna after six nice hours in Bratislava.

Thomas’ short Bratislava wrap-up

On the boat back to Vienna Thomas has some time to sum up his thoughts about Bratislava. He has enjoyed walking around in the city, but he is a bit disappointed by the city itself. He had greater expectations to the buildings and the architecture of the city. He could easily imagine spending a few days in the city for the sake of just walking around in the old town and eating in the nice restaurants. However, if the goal is to discover beautiful buildings, visit interesting museums and to be inspired by the surroundings, Thomas would rather spend an extra day in Vienna.

The main square in Bratislava
The main square in Bratislava

Have you been to Bratislava? Did you enjoy your stay? Do you feel the same way Thomas felt, or did you experience the city totally different? Write a comment and share your thoughts.